SIMAGES 2015.1 – NASAGA Awards for 2014

NASAGA Awards for 2014
By Linda Slack

NASAGA was very proud to present Ron Stadsklev with the Ifill-Raynolds Award and Jacob Mayiani for the Rising Star Award for 2014.

The Ifill-Raynolds Award, which is a memorial award given for outstanding contributions to simulation and gaming, recognizes one of our members who develops or uses simulation games with joy and serious purpose. This is in the spirit of the NASAGA members it was named for Don Ifill and Gennie Raynolds Don and Gennie brought joy and serious purpose as well as spirit to their work, and specifically to their work with simulation gaming. Gennie and Don, who died within two months of each other in 1995, were our first active members to pass away and NASAGA decided to honor their memory with this award.

The Ifill-Raynolds Award recipient’s work should respect and make use of the power and spiritual richness within practical settings. In an exemplary way, the work should:

  • Foster a sense of community among those who interact with it.
  • Deepen understanding of a cultural, organizational, and/or global common good as it provides for interaction with the situation(s) or system(s) being modeled.
  • Enable active, positive listening by participants to themselves and/or those different from themselves, enhancing their understanding of themselves and others.
  • Contribute to strengthening or changing an organization or group’s climate and spirit while building a deeper understanding of its purpose.

A long standing NASAGA member, Ron Stadsklev, was the recipient of the 2014 Ifill-Raynolds Award, and well deserving of it for his many years in the simulation and gaming world.


“If life isn’t an adventure, it is nothing at all,” and Ron’s life story reads like an exciting novel of travel and experiences we could only dream about. At the 2014 NASAGA Conference, Ron and his son, Matt, facilitated GHETTO GAME. If you didn’t have a chance to attend the session, GHETTO GAME is a game of mobility which simulates the pressures under which the urban poor live and the choices they face as they seek to improve their life situation. Players learn that the condition of their neighborhood affects all of them, whether or not they are concerned about it. They can only improve neighborhood conditions by investing effort in community action.”

Ron and Son Matt Facilitate the Ghetto Game
Ron and Son Matt Facilitate the Ghetto Game

GHETTO GAME is only one of the sessions Ron has facilitated over the years at NASAGA and elsewhere in the world. He is author of the book Handbook of Simulation Gaming in Social Education and, when he lived in China, he used experiential learning techniques and his book to teach a course called “Conversational English and American Culture for Advanced English Students.” While at the University of Ron was the Director of Experiential Learning with the Institute of Research and Services.

Ron at center court
Ron at center court

Ron loves to have fun and has lived, worked, and traveled in more than 20 countries. He was also a race car driver for 25 years, raised and trained horses, and competed in barrel racing. He still plays basketball in the Senior Olympics. His team qualified in the California state tournament to go to Minneapolis last July to play for the national championship in the 80 and over division.

Ron said, “I live my life like reading a book and sometimes I can’t wait to get to the next chapter and see what is going to happen.” We are hoping to see Ron and his son, Matt, in Seattle for the 2015 NASAGA Conference and are looking forward to his next session.

Find out more about the exciting adventures of Ron, at his website

risingstarRising Star Award

starawardJacob Mayiani was the recipient of the Rising Star Award for 2014, and for his design and facilitation of ERAMAT: System Thinking for Survival in East Africa. The Rising Star award is presented each year to a first-time facilitator at the NASAGA conference.

Jacob heard about NASAGA through one of his team members, Alex Hickling, and he and his team submitted a proposal to facilitate this Culturally Anchored Eco-game. ERAMAT addresses problems involving human-environment interactions. It was developed in partnership with a specific target community, the Maasai people in Africa.

Jacob was born in Lenkisem a small town southwest of Kenya in Kajiado county. His parents are Maasai, and are members of the communities that depend on livestock as a source of livelihood. It was this life experience, associated with an accelerating boom-bust cycle of drought and hunger in the region, that sparked the idea for the game.

Workshop participants truly enjoyed this session and only great feedback was echoed through the halls at NASAGA.

Mayiani received his Master’s Degree from James Madison University, College of Integrated Science and Engineering where he is presently working in Institutional Research as a Research Analyst. He hopes to return to Kenya in the summer of 2015 to test the latest version of ERAMAT.

starplayJacob stated that it was a terrific honor to receive the Rising Star Award and it was greatly appreciated by the ERAMAT team. The team learned a lot from the session and gained helpful feedback that will aid in revising the game into a better version for the Maasai people in Kenya and U.S. players alike.

Jacob said that his team is looking forward to being able to share their new version with NASAGA participants in the future and are excited to see new and inspiring games and ideas from fellow NASAGA members. He also expressed special thanks to Anastasia Salter and the rest of the board for their work to organize the Baltimore conference.

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